Sugar and zest.

In four days, Santa’s going to pull out his list- and check it twice.

I made sure I’m on the “nice” list. I made TWO kinds of cookies to give as gifts, along with eggnog and bacon jam. I’m a holiday miracle! (Actually, I just love being in the kitchen.)

I’ll tell you later about how I make scrumptious New England Clam Chowder. Let’s talk about the sweets. Dessert first! Yesterday, I shared the decadent Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies– deep and rich. On the other end of the taste bud spectrum, these Glazed Lemon Cookies are tart and sweet. They are SO SIMPLE- and so good.

Look how few ingredients there are!

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Softened butter and sugar get blended into a creamy cloud. A couple of egg yolks, vanilla, and salt join the party.  Then, bit by bit, you add some flour until the dough forms. That’s IT.

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This is one of those cookie recipes I talked about yesterday, where you can make the dough ahead of time and keep tubes of it in the freezer for ON THE SPOT cookie love! This time, I baked them all right away, but it’s still easiest to make the tubes. I divided the dough into four balls, rolled each into a tube shape, and wrapped them in wax paper. These hung out in the freezer to firm up a tad, for about 15 minutes.

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Yes, I’m aware of the ice cream situation in there.

Unwrap the dough and slice it into cookies. (I made bite-sized cookies to match the coffee chocolate ones– I like all of the treats in the gift box to be similar in size.) About 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven and they’re done! They cookies don’t really get golden brown, except just around the edges on the bottom. Let them cool completely before icing them.

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Guys, the icing is the BEST PART. Powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest- whisked into a tart topping that really MAKES the cookie!

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One by one, I turn the cookies over and dip them deep into the icing bowl. I basically coat the whole thing except the very bottom. Then I place it back on the cooling rack, some wax paper placed underneath to catch any icing drippings. Look at these glistening mouthfuls!

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The icing hardens over the cookie, but the whole thing remains soft. The cookie is sweet and so is the icing, but not too much- and it’s cut by the tartness of the lemon. They are addictive and some of my favorite cookies ever!

To package them, I use these adorable Chinese take-out inspired boxes that I found at Michaels last year, and my local grocery store had some holiday parchment paper. I put a layer of the paper inside the box, then a handful of Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies. Another layer of paper to separate cookie flavors, and a handful of the Glazed Lemon Cookies go in. Another layer to cover them up and VOILA! A sweet little box of homemade cookies!

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We’ll be playing Santa Claus later today. Sometimes it’s hard to give away tasty things from my kitchen. The eggnog, Bourbon Bacon Jam, and both cookies are all so delicious! But there’s just something about handing a friend a gift made with love.

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Pssst! I totally stashed some bacon jam in the fridge. You know, in case Santa gets hungry this week.

I want to stay on the “nice” list.

Glazed Lemon Cookies

You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ sticks butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon

Beat the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Beat to combine. Gradually add the flour until the dough comes together.

Divide the dough into evenly sized balls (2 or 4). Shape them into logs with the diameter roughly the desired size of your cookie. Wrap in wax paper and freeze for 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Slice the logs of dough into 2/3 inch thick pieces and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Bake until the bottom edges are golden brown, 15 minutes for larger cookies (10 minutes for smaller cookies). Let cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and zest until it forms a thick glaze. Dip the top of each cookie in the glaze and let set on the cooling rack. Scoop up any icing drippings with your finger- YUM!

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